Spokesman Says ‘Greedy’ Businessmen Strain Stipend

A senior government spokesman complained on Wednesday of price gouging among “greedy” lodging operators for the upcoming Sea Festival in Sihanoukville.

“I am very surprised about the increase of hotel and guesthouse fees by double” their usual rates, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan wrote in a Facebook post.

Reached on Wednesday, Mr. Siphan bemoaned that the “government never got any discount at all” for the festival it helped promote, which runs from Friday through Sunday.

Mr. Siphan would not disclose his per diem—meant to cover lodging, food and pocket costs—but said local accommodation owners were to blame for the fact that the stipend had become “not enough.”

“The businessmen are greedy,” he said.

Vanna Hay, a CNRP supporter working in Japan who commented on Mr. Siphan’s post, said the secretary of state was getting a taste of life for ordinary Cambodians.

“There are a lot of normal citizens [who] suffer from inflation in Cambodia,” he wrote in a Facebook message. They “suffer from the high price of goods, transportation, health care, housing—I can say, everything.”

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